If you are a music lover, you will probably know the thrill of experimenting with different genres. America has a rich range when it comes to genres, from traditional pop to jazz, country, blues, rock and roll, hip-hop, and soul. That means you have a lot to play with as an aspiring musician.

Bluegrass is an interesting one as it integrates several musical styles to create a unique blend. The best part is that the genre has a colorful history dating back almost a hundred years. Most people know Bill Monroe as the father of bluegrass, with his popular band The Blue Grass Boys. But the real credit for developing the style goes to Arnold Shultz, the Black fiddler and guitarist who mentored Monroe.

The recent death of Bobby Osborne is another reason for an uptick in the popularity of the musical genre. He was the lead singer of the Osborne Brothers, a group that contributed to the commercial appeal of bluegrass. The high energy and fast tempo sound of the style also makes it alluring to youngsters. A revival is likely around the corner for the genre.

Before diving in, you must know that learning a new music style is a commitment, and bluegrass is no exception. But you shouldn’t worry about mastering the art if you know your basics. Here are a few tips you can follow to master the bluegrass genre as a beginner.

Choose Your Instrument

The bluegrass band comprises instruments such as a 5-string banjo, fiddle, mandolin, flat-top guitar, and bass. Each melody instrument takes turns in the song, carrying the melody while the other instruments revert to the backing. This makes the genre different from the old-time musical style, where all the instruments play together.

Choose your instrument according to your skill and expertise. If you play the guitar, you need to swap your regular acoustic guitar with a dreadnought guitar. For a beginner, the big question pops up: what is a dreadnought guitar? A dreadnought guitar is a large one with a rich, loud, and powerful sound that’s just right for the bluegrass musical style.

According to 6StringsKids.com, these guitars are ideal for beginners because of their classic look, easy playability, and affordable price. They are versatile, so you can use them to experiment with more genres beyond bluegrass.

Go Slow and Easy

Learning music is a gradual process, regardless of the genre and skill levels of learners. Slowing down may not be easy for bluegrass learners because of its fast tempo. But you must commit to letting your body assimilate new information and adapt to the playing style. You are halfway through if you learn to start slowly and develop speed later.

Experts advise hearing a note in your head before actually playing it. You may fail a couple of times by connecting the dots, but the technique can be a game-changer once you master it. Not to mention, going slow and easy lowers your anxiety levels as you explore a new field you have never tried before.

Learn the Standards

Every musical genre has its standards, and bluegrass is no exception. Standards are the songs that define the style and sound of the genre, and beginners must respect them. Learning these tunes gives you a head start with building your musical vocabulary. Begin by playing with the chord changes, and move to the simplest form of the melody.

Once you are comfortable with the basics, work up a solo and try to do something different with the style. Listen to popular artists, bands, and tunes to seek inspiration and understand what the style is all about. You can consider finding a mentor or working with an experienced jammer to get some valuable insights.

Relax and Enjoy the Process

Learning a new skill can be challenging, both physically and emotionally. Stress can compound the challenge and hinder your performance. The best way to deal with the stress is by staying relaxed and enjoying the process.

Bluegrass guitaring can be particularly physical, considering its size. If your muscles are tense, you may have a hard time handling the instrument. Try deep breathing and meditation to loosen your muscles and calm your mind. The exercise eases your journey as a beginner, so it should be a part of every session.

The Bottom Line

Bluegrass is an old genre, but contemporary musicians are keen to try their hand at it. Mastering the style takes effort, dedication, and commitment. It is also about choosing the right instruments and feeling at ease with them. Surely, there are no shortcuts to learning a new genre, but these simple tips put you on the right path.

Written by Stop The Breaks
Stop The Breaks is an independent music marketing company focused on showcasing independent hip-hop artists. Our goal is to help motivate, inspire and educate independent artists grinding around the world. We provide branding, content marketing, social media, SEO and music promotion services.